Everyone is welcome to have their children christened in their parish church. During the Christening service your baby or child will be baptized. There are around 10,000 babies and children baptized in the Church of England every month. We also welcome adults who wish to be baptized.
Your child is precious to you and precious to God. At Baptism you make a decision to start your child on a journey of faith. The church and the godparents support the family and the child in this decision.
Baptism marks the beginning of a journey with God which continues for the rest of our lives. This first step is a response to God's love. It is also a celebration, a time to come together with family and friends; remembering that your child is loved by God, is part of a wider community and has a place with God's people.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about getting your baby or child Christened.
1. What is the difference between a Baptism and a Christening?
There is no difference between a Christening service and a Baptism service. Some churches will use the word 'baptism' and some the word 'christening'. Babies are baptised during a christening service just as couples are 'married' during a 'wedding' service.
2. Can anyone have a Christening service?
Yes, so long as they have not been baptised already. The Church of England welcomes all babies, children and families for Christenings - whatever shape that family takes. You do not have to be married to ask for a Christening for your child. You do not have to have been a regular churchgoer - as parents, you do not even have to have been Christened yourselves. Everyone is welcome at our church. Just ask if this is something you are considering for your baby or child or for yourself as an adult.
3. What about godparents?
Godparents are some of the most important people at the Christening.
Godparents are not the people who will care for your child should anything happen to you. Arrangements for this would normally be made by a Will. Rather, they should be people who will be there for your child and help them think about the bigger questions in life - questions of love, hope and faith.
Every child should have at least three godparents, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex. Parents may be godparents for their own children, providing they have at least one other godparent.
Godparents must be baptized themselves and old enough to make some serious promises on behalf of the child. READ MORE...
4. How much does a Christening service cost?
The good news is that a Christening service is free. There may be costs for your family party afterwards, for gifts, or for christening robes, but the church service is free.
5. Where can we hold the Christening?
You can have your baby Christened at either one of our churches or as part of the JUMP service and it is usually held as part of the main Sunday service.
6. Can we arrange a Christening at a separate time to the Sunday service?
There may be opportunities to have a service at a different time, again usually on a Sunday, but talk to Revd Beverley and ask about what we can offer you.
7. How do I arrange a Christening?
Simply send an e-mail via the contact page.
8. How old should my child be?
You can have your baby or child Christened at any age. There is no upper age limit, but after about the age of seven your child may be able to make the promises for themselves.
9. What happens in the service?
At your baby's Christening, water will be blessed and poured on the baby's/child's head - this is the baptism of your baby (the word 'baptism' means 'to be immersed in water'). The baby will be signed with the cross and a special oil may be used for this. A candle or other gift from the church may be given. Godparents and parents will make promises on behalf of the baby, and prayers will be offered for the baby and the family. There may also be readings and hymns, which you may be able to choose – we can discuss any special requests.
10. Do I have to choose baptism? Is there an alternative service instead?
If you are not ready for baptism we can offer a special service of thanksgiving for the birth of a baby or the adoption of a child. If you contact us we can discuss this.
What does being a godparent involve?
Congratulations on being asked to be a godparent: you are a very important person! We know that your friends or relations will have thought hard about this. They have chosen you to be a special person in their child's life, someone who will offer encouragement, prayer and support for the child, and help them discover more about the Christian faith as they grow up.
As a godparent you have a special role. It's about helping a child to come to know God, encouraging them in their spiritual life and supporting them in their membership of the local church.
You need to be at the Christening where you will make promises to help bring them up in the Christian faith. It's a role that will grow over time, as your godchild grows up and develops their own faith.